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Coming Back; One Famous Brand from Long Ago

Updated on June 12, 2014
Billrrrr profile image

Bill Russo is featured in the film & TV show, The Bridgewater Triangle & has written several books (both fiction & non) on Amazon Kindle.

Flakey Puffs! They were so light & airy that I am certain they had zero calories.

Sky Bar - still made by New England Confection Co. but HARD to find.

The greatest computer ever made ! ! !

Radio's Original Soap Opera - Ma Perkins

Oxydol in the 'Ma Perkins' era

Tide was cheaper to make, so P&G decided to kill off Oxydol & crown a new laundry King

Oxydol today

Oxydol in the 1960s

Over the years I’ve watched a lot of my favorite products slowly disappear.

One of the best was ‘Flakey Puffs’. They were a sinful combination of crème and strawberry in the middle surrounded by thick, ultra-light layers of pastry. I’m not sure, but they may only have been available in New England.

I also lamented the loss of Sky Bars. Introduced in 1938 by propeller driven airplanes in a dramatic skywriting ad campaign, they were the first chocolate bar with four distinct and different centers. One square had peanut butter inside, a second had caramel, the third contained fudge and the fourth square was vanilla. It was a candy delight for sure and I mourn its loss.

Sometime back around 1990 I guess it was; the ‘PEE CEES’ and the Apples knocked my beloved Commodore 64 into the pages of history

Even my favorite laundry soap - the one my Mother used to use - slowly disappeared from its place on the grocer’s shelves. It was called ‘Oxydol’ and from about 1914 up until 1950 it was the number one product for washday.

My Flakey Puffs, Sky Bars, and C-64s might be gone forever, but here’s the good news. Oxydol is back!!!!!!

You can buy it at a lot of stores including Dollar General, Big Lots, Hannaford, Dollar Tree, Market Basket (Best Super Market in Massachusetts by far), Piggly Wiggly, Sweet Bay and many more.

Here’s a little history of this brand that once was far and away the biggest seller in all the United States.

The product was invented in 1914 and taken over in 1917 by Proctor and Gamble who built the brand steadily. In 1933 something historic happened that propelled it from being a good seller, to the nation’s best seller.

On Monday, December 4, 1933 P & G revolutionized both radio and advertising when they sponsored the first broadcast of a serial called, ‘Ma Perkins’.

‘Ma” became one of the most popular of all radio serials - running all the way up until 1960; with the same actress, Virginia Payne, playing the title role for every single program for the entire 27 year run.

Proctor and Gamble sponsored the program from 1933 to 1956 and was so successful with it, that they gave the name ‘Soap Opera’ to the genre.

Millions of Moms used Oxydol. In the 1930s they used it in washtubs with washboards. By the 1940s washing machines became affordable enough for most Americans, so they put their Oxydol in, and were able to relax a little bit as the machine did the scrubbing.

In 1949, the makers of Oxydol came out with a new product called Tide. Tide was cheaper to make and was higher priced, so P & G concentrated on selling it while giving less publicity and shelf space to old friend Oxydol.

By the new century, Ma Perkins favorite washday cleanser was about to disappear. Two former P & G executives made a bold move. They offered to buy the brand from their former employers - who were only too glad to be shed of it.

Their efforts have paid off as today Oxydol is back in many stores and is once again gaining market share. It is made in America at plants in Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

The makers say that they are positioning Oxydol at the same price points as the low tier products - but it has a high tier formula. They report that Oxydol uses an enzyme formula that is similar to the high price products, but is priced the same as the low tier products that do not contain the enzyme formula.

I don’t know about that, but I do know that Oxydol cleans well and has a pleasant scent. When I saw it in the store I felt that I was re-uniting with an old friend.

Now if I could just get a couple ‘Flakey Puffs’ and a few ‘Sky Bars’.


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    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Me too carol7777 and thank you very much for reading and commenting.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I love when old things and brands return..I feel like a kid again. thanks for sharing this.